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Moran goes yard in first pro at-bat
As brother plays in All-Star Game, first-rounder starts career
07/18/2013 12:19 AM ET
Colin Moran hit .345 with 13 home runs for North Carolina this spring.
Colin Moran hit .345 with 13 home runs for North Carolina this spring. (Matt Burton/MiLB.com)

Wednesday was a fun day for the Moran family.

Brian Moran, a reliever with Tacoma, hurled a scoreless fifth inning at the Triple-A All-Star Game. For most families, that would've been plenty to celebrate.

Not to be outdone, younger brother Colin Moran -- this year's sixth overall Draft pick -- made his professional debut in Miami's farm system. The 20-year-old made a fine first impression, slugging a homer in his first at-bat for Class A Greensboro in a 4-3 win over Charleston.

The Marlins selection homered to right field off Charleston starter Dan Camarena with two outs and nobody on in the first inning. He followed with a flyout to center field in the third, a groundout in the sixth and a walk in the eighth.

"It feels like Opening Day all over again," Moran told the Greensboro News Observer before the game. "I'm really excited to get my professional career underway.

The North Carolina product's debut was about an hour's drive from the campus in Chapel Hill.

"When I found out I was coming here, I was pretty excited," Moran said. "It's right down the road from where I went to school, so I'm pretty familiar with the area."

Prior to the Draft, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo pegged Moran as the sixth-best prospect in this year's class. Mayo touted the left-handed hitter's projectable frame and polish as a hitter, guessing that his potentially plus hit tool would allow him to generate more power as he fills in his 6-foot-3, 209-pound frame. Defensively, Mayo suggested Moran should be an average MLB defender at third, even if he isn't the fastest runner.

Moran was the latest in a run of Tar Heels to be plucked in the first round. Dustin Ackley and Alex White were selected by the Mariners and Indians respectively in 2009. The next year, the Mets plucked Matt Harvey, and then in 2011, Minnesota nabbed Levi Michael.

Moran is the sixth UNC product to go in the first round since 2006, giving the Tar Heels more first-round selections than any other program.

He's also the nephew of fellow UNC product and 1985 No. 1 overall pick B.J. Surhoff. Like his uncle, Moran is chasing an older brother to get to the Major Leagues. While Surhoff followed older brother Rick, Moran's brother is a left-hander in Seattle's farm system. The 24-year-old has a 2.54 ERA in 34 appearances with four saves and 64 strikeouts in 46 innings for the Rainiers.

On Wednesday, while Colin was rounding the bases in Greensboro, Brian was prepping to play in the Triple-A midsummer classic. Moran pitched the fifth inning of the game, recording two strikeouts and allowing a hit in a scoreless frame.

For Colin Moran, the appearance wasn't his first in Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park. The stadium held the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in 2012, and Moran played three games at the ballpark. The home run was still his first in Greensboro.

"I remember not doing too well," Moran said jokingly of the ACC tournament. "But I like the park and the field is nice. So I'm excited to play here."

Moran is likely to finish out the season with the Hoppers, and has already been told he will play in the Arizona Fall League after the season. He's also been informed he'll be attending big league camp with Miami next spring.

"No one has higher expectations of themselves than me," Moran said. "I think I can do a lot to help the team win, offensively and defensively, and I'm just going to try to be a smart player."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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